No one likes a breakout, actors included. It’s never fun to wake up the morning of an audition with a big, red blemish taking over your once-camera-ready face.
On the other hand, it’s awesome having a clear-skin day when you know you’re glowing the moment you get in front of the camera. So wouldn’t it be great to have clear, glowing skin all the time and not have to worry about unexpected, unwelcome visitors every time you look in the mirror before an audition or shoot?
Luckily, a lot of what causes a breakout is within your control now that we know the food we eat plays a fundamental role in skin health. As such, here are three foods to dump and three foods to add to your diet for awesome, clear, worry-free skin.
DUMP: Sugary, refined foods.
No surprise here but when we consume foods like sugary drinks, sweets, processed foods, and white bread that rank higher on the Glycemic Index (a measure of how quickly a particular food raises blood sugar), our blood sugar rises so rapidly that we get a surge of insulin, insulin-like compounds, and an increase in androgens (male sex hormones, present in both men and women).
Together, these compounds promote inflammation, excessive skin cell growth, and excessive sebum production (the oily substance present in ski). Excess skin cell growth plus excess sebum equals the perfect stage for clogged pores!
Tip: Avoid foods that avidly claim to be “low fat.” When foods are processed to be “low fat,” they tend to replace that fat with excess sugar which promotes inflammation and subsequently breakouts.
There is a big connection between dairy consumption and breakouts. One theory is that cow’s milk contains an insulin-like compound that promotes excessive growth and inflammation in the body. Try eliminating dairy for two weeks and see if you notice a difference in your skin.
Tip: Read the label! Bread, cereal, even salad dressings often have added dairy, so look for words like milk ingredients, casein, whey, and lactose, all of which are dairy.
DUMP: Fried foods
Again, not a huge surprise. Fried foods contribute to inflammation in the body and as acne is an inflammatory condition, we want to eliminate as many inflammatory foods as possible.
Tip: Just stay away. You know if something is fried.
ADD: Salmon, sardines, and anchovies
These foods are rich in omega-3, an essential fatty acid that helps decrease not only inflammation but also the compounds that contribute to excessive growth in cells. If you’re not a fan of eating fish, supplement daily with a good quality fish oil.
ADD: Fermented foods
Foods like miso sauerkraut, tempeh, kimchi, and kombucha are rich in the live, good bacteria that play an important role in our bodies. There have been numerous studies done on how the bacteria in our gut affect aspects of our body from the brain to the skin. Probiotics (good bacteria) help reduce inflammation in the gut, thereby reducing inflammation in the skin. (Yogurt is also considered a fermented food, but if you are cutting out dairy, best avoid it.)
If you don’t like the sound—or taste—of fermented foods, take baby steps. Visit your local health food store for a daily probiotic pill instead.
ADD: Pumpkin seeds (or oysters)
Both pumpkin seeds and oysters contain zinc, a mineral necessary for optimal skin health. It’s anti-inflammatory in itself and promotes wound healing. (Who doesn’t want faster-zit recovery?!) Other good sources of zinc include liver, sesame seeds, and spinach.
Finally, it should go without saying but make sure you are getting lots of water, fresh vegetables and fruit as part of an anti-zit diet.
You have control over your skin—make it glow.
*This post was originally published on Oct. 5, 2018. It has since been updated.
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